PHILADELPHIA — The road to the White House runs through New York this year, and the general election battle between New Yorkers Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton and Republican nominee Donald Trump has provided the state’s leaders with an upfront role in back to back nominating conventions.
This week’s Democratic National Convention has tapped nearly a dozen speakers from New York to address the hundreds of delegates crowded into the Wells Fargo Center for the convention, and inside the arena New York’s delegation is positioned front and center before the stage.
Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo, Sens. Chuck Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand, and New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio are among the surrogates who have been called upon to vouch for Clinton, the state’s former U.S. senator, before a national audience.
Cuomo, whose father the late Gov. Mario Cuomo gained national prominence after giving a rousing speech at the 1984 Democratic Convention, said that while he looked forward to addressing the convention Wednesday, it is harder for speakers to make a connection with an audience now distracted by social media.
“We don’t even have the same value in the speeches that we use to have, in the era of Twitter, anything over 30 seconds isn’t important,” Cuomo said Tuesday.
State Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli, a Long Island Democrat, said the Democratic convention was “a great opportunity for New York to be showcased” as a history-making state as Clinton becomes the country’s first female major party nominee for president.
“All of the cameras will be on New York,” said DiNapoli, who is not speaking at the event. “It’s just very exciting because so many of us have known Hillary Clinton from her days of representing us in the U.S. Senate.”
Before delivering his address, Schumer told Newsday he was “excited” to use the iconic imagery of New York’s Statue of Liberty in his speech.
“That torch in the harbor of the city in which I live, it won’t flicker, it won’t fade, it will burn brightly in the heart of every American,” Schumer said in his address to convention delegates Tuesday night.
Last week’s Republican National Convention featured a prime-time address by former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani, and the delegation’s position in front of the stage meant that New York elected officials were frequently on-air as cameras turned to the audience for response.